A planetary bombing wouldn't have been able to shake me out of the stupor I found myself in. I could only stare at the being crouched in front of me, in complete awe. Because of that it took me a moment to realize someone was gently shaking me, trying to get my attention. I looked up to find Carth there.
"Hey, come on kid, snap out of it! I know you're disoriented right now, but we can't stay here. Come on, stand up," he urged me, grabbing my arm and hauling me to my feet.
I stood, unsteadily, and began walking with them, unaware of the looks they were giving me and each other. It wasn't until an unearthly howl echoed through the tunnel that I hadn't noticed we'd entered, that I gave some thought to my surroundings. The sound of blaster fire erupted around me, startling me out of my daze. My eyes followed the bolts as they flew down the tunnel, impacting several pale, hunched over creatures. Rakghouls? Geez, those things were here too! I just stared as the creatures were hit, stumbled, and fell forward with a sickeningly wet thwack.
I brought a hand to my head, trying to comfort the renewed throbbing and stave off the dizziness I was feeling. "What the hell is going on?" I muttered.
"We can't take this kid with us," Carth said, "Not into the Vulkar base. Look at him..."
"Well we can't just leave him down here!" Mission shouted back.
"I know Mission," Carth explained, "Really, I do, but he's in no state to go charging into a base full of enemies, let alone a Gammorrean camp down here. Isn't there anywhere up to the Lower City from down here?"
Mission shook her head, "Not unless he can jump a twenty foot gap and land on a platform above the one he started on. The closest place is either the Vulkar Base or back at the elevator."
Carth let out a sigh while the other man spoke, "We don't have the time to go back."
"Uh, hello!" I said waving my hand to get their attention, "I'm standing right here!" When they didn't reply I sighed and closed my eyes, pinching the bridge of my nose, "Look, I...I don't know what the hell is going on here, alright? All I know is I'm scared out of my freaking mind and that, apparently, somehow, I'm on fucking Taris with you three! I-... I'll deal with it later. Just... just give me a blaster and let's get moving so we can get the hell out of here."
"I don't know that giving you a blaster is a good idea," Carth said, "Not with how disoriented you are. Have you ever used a blaster before?"
I sighed in exasperation, "No, I haven't. Hell, I haven't even-... Can we just go please so I can have something else to focus on?!"
"What's your name?" the other man asked.
I looked at him, the realization just hitting me that this must be Revan. "D-Dazac," I replied.
"I'm Naver," he said as he handed me a blaster. I looked at it for a moment and then hesitantly took it from him. "This is Carth and Mission," he said, gesturing to each in turn. "Keep your head down and stay behind me. Carth, can you bring up the rear, make sure we don't get any surprise guests?"
"You got it," Carth said, nodding.
Without another word, Revan turned and started off, back down the tunnel. I followed behind Mission and had to move faster than I was really used to in order to keep pace. It felt awkward moving at this speed. It wasn't quite as fast as a slow jog, but faster then a brisk walk. We moved through the tunnel of the old sewer system, our footsteps splashing in small puddles of opaque water while pipes running over head dripped down onto our heads. I heard Carth mutter something about not wanting to know what the stuff was and looked back to see him wiping at his hair before giving a disgusted look and trying to shake his hand clean.
"How much farther, Mission?" Revan asked.
Mission pointed ahead, "At this next turn and through the door there and we should be right at the edge of the Gammorrean camp."
"Why would anyone set up a camp down here?" Carth asked.
"Maybe they like the smell," I offered flatly, attempting to focus on my surroundings in the sense that I was aware of what was going on around me. Thinking about them in the sense that I was actually there was something I wanted to avoid.
"Heh, I said the same thing!" Mission said, flashing me a smile. I tried to return it, but managed little more than a twitch at the corner of my mouth.
As we approached the door, Revan motioned for us to keep quiet and out of sight while he opened the door. It slid open with a rather loud grating sound and almost immediately I heard the snorting of what could only be Gammorreans. Revan lobbed a grenade around the corner and waited for it to go off before he and Carth leaned out and started firing.
I just tried staying upright and leaned against the wall of the tunnel, instantly regretting the action as the feeling of something wet soaked into my shirt. I looked down at myself and took stock of my attire. Sneakers, jeans, a thin green t-shirt... brilliant. Exactly what I need when I suddenly find myself in a different frickin' Universe! No wonder these three had been giving me weird looks. I probably looked ridiculous to them.
The blaster fire stopped and Mission ran into the room, immediately moving to the only other door there.
"Whoa," Mission said as she crouched in front of it, "This is ancient. An old mechanical lock, no control panel or anything."
"Can you open it?" Carth asked.
Mission frowned at the lock. "I'm not sure. I mean, I'm good at hacking electronic locks, but I've never come across something like this before."
"Just shoot it," I said, anxious to be moving again so that I didn't have the time to freak out like I really wanted to.
"And fry the damn thing so it can't be opened at all?" Carth said, looking at me incredulously.
I wanted to scream, but instead just settled for an exasperated tone as I replied, "It's mechanical! You can't- oh, to hell with it!" I stepped forward, pointed the blaster at the lock at point blank range and squeezed the trigger. Almost immediately the door sprang open as the lock fell to the floor, half melted.
"Big-Z!" Mission shouted, rushing into the room. My gaze followed her as she rushed forward and straight into Zaalbar, hugging him tightly. I just stood and watched as she began talking to him and introducing him to us and us to him. I just blinked. It was a Wookie. A tall, hairy, smelly Wookie. And it was real.
I closed my eyes and had to fight back the urge to scream as yet another proverbial nail was hammered into the coffin containing my world, and, I feared, my sanity. I started shaking rather violently before a sudden throb in the side of my head caused me to open my eyes and find Revan looking at me worriedly, his hands on my shoulders. So, that explained the shaking.
"Something wrong?" he asked.
Gee, you think?
I looked at him and asked, "Is this real?" I looked away from him and to the blaster in my hand, raising it up to look at it. It had fired. Blew the lock off. I had felt the heat on my hand, the jarring in my wrist as the shot had gone off. I lowered the weapon and turned out of his grasp and then lied through my teeth, "I'm fine." I started moving toward the door, then stopped and turned to look at them, seeing exactly what I had expected to. Worry. I sighed. "Can we just... keep moving?" I asked, gesturing toward the door.
"We will," Carth said, "But first it's best we tell you what we're walking into, and then you can tell us what the hell your problem is. We can't afford to have you acting like... this!"
"Carth," I said flatly, "Trust me when I say that this is much better than the alternative of screaming my head off and shouting incoherently. I went to sleep at home, and now, I've woken up in the fucking Undercity, on fucking Taris! And I'm standing here now, with all of you, walking through Rhakghoul infested sewers, heading to the Vulkar base! I don't know how. I don't know why. But, I am apparently as FAR away from home as someone can apparently get! So excuse me, for seeming out of it, because, as you so aptly stated, I have a big, goddamn problem!"
By the end of my rant I was shouting, and now I had these four individuals who shouldn't exist, staring at me, apparently at a loss for words. "Alright..." Carth said in a soothing tone, "Alright...just, take a deep breath. Try to relax. I get you. I really do..."
I deflated and sighed heavily, knowing full well that he was just saying things I wanted to hear. Things I probably needed to hear, even though I knew he really didn't get it. I brought a hand up to my head and spoke, "I'm sorry. I'm just... a little overwhelmed at the moment."
"I think 'a little' is a serious understatement," Revan said.
I let my head drop forward a bit and nodded slightly, "Yeah. Yeah. I just... time. I just need some time to think... But that's something we don't have right now, so... I'll just have to-"
"Put the meltdown on hold?" Mission asked in a tentative, yet hopeful tone.
I gave a small laugh and replied, "Yeah. Put the meltdown on hold."
I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to find Carth looking at me, "You gonna be alright kid?"
I shook my head and shrugged, "Pry not. I don't know. Just have to wait and see, I guess. So, what are we heading into?"
Revan patted me on the shoulder as he walked past, "Alright, we can go over details on the way. Let's get moving. We've got an accelerator to steal back!"